Saturday, January 12, 2013

“The One with the Man on It”

Dear Parishioners,

Someone related to me her experience of attempting to buy a cross/crucifix from a jewelry store recently. As she questioned the salesperson about various crosses/crucifixes that were on display in the store, the salesperson innocently asked, “Do you want one with the man on it or not?”
Hum.  I was left speechless when I heard this story.  Sad, I thought.  Very sad.  Doesn’t everyone know who Jesus is?  Didn’t this person know what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross?
Truth be told, I really don’t know what the person knew, understood or believed.  The experience, however, got me thinking.  Why would someone in this day and age—with all of our technology and resources—not know the Gospel message.  Why would someone not know who Jesus is and what He did for us?  How do we relate to them this Good News?

“Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Rm. 10: 17)

We are in a Year of Faith.  This faith is ultimately faith in the Person of Jesus.  We believe He is the Son of God sent to us to reveal to us the love that God has for us.  He suffered and died on the cross for us.  Most importantly, He conquered sin and death—giving us eternal life—by His Resurrection from the dead.

That’s the basic Christian message.  It’s pretty simple.  All people need to hear it somehow.

If a person doesn’t go to church, where the message is routinely proclaimed, then there has to be various other means to get the message out.  Besides preaching, I try by putting something out in the church bulletin and on the internet weekly.  I also try to live out my faith—albeit imperfectly—in the community in which I live.  I certainly need to be a living Gospel message.

In the end, this message of salvation in Jesus Christ has to get out into the world through a united effort—all of us.  It’s not the just the priest’s job.  I (or any other priest) can only reach a limited number of people.  They are mostly those who are already coming to church.

We all have to be what we say that we are—followers of Christ, Christians.  We have to bear witness to others the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.

Don’t be afraid.  Tell them the Good News:

Yes, my friend, I would like a crucifix with Jesus on it.  He is truly the Man, par excellence.  He suffered and died for me and you on that cross.  And I want the entire world to see it and to know it!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

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